Turkey rejects US claims of holding consulate employee


Detained Turkish national is neither US consulate staff nor has diplomatic immunity, says Foreign Ministry spokesman

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday denied the claim made by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara that a detained Turkish citizen was an employee of its consulate general in Istanbul.

A Turkish national, identified only by his initials M. T., was remanded in custody over terror charges by an Istanbul court on Wednesday .

The U.S. Mission to Turkey issued a statement on Thursday saying the person was a “local employee” of its Istanbul consulate office.

“He is neither a staff of the U.S. Consulate nor does he have any diplomatic or consular immunity,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu in a statement.

Muftuoglu said the “person was detained on Sept. 25” and then remanded in custody “based on terror related charges”.

M.T. was allegedly linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) suspects, including police commissioners and a fugitive, former public prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, who had been accused of “forming an organization to commit crime” and “attempting to overthrow the government by use of force” in a plot allegedly masterminded by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

Ankara accuses FETO and Gulen of having orchestrating the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, and of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.